Update October 2020: Due to new information I have obtained since the publication of this article, I have significantly changed my stance on Covid-19. The best way to protect yourself is to stay healthy meaning eat healthy (fresh organic wholefoods), stay active (move), be outside (sunlight and fresh air), nurture yourself, take Vitamin C, D and Zinc and stay sane instead of worrying what you can’t control. A healthy immune system is your best line of defence. Also check out this article by Dr. Mark Hyman.
Until two days ago, I thought this is just another flu season and the press is creating paranoia. After spending a significant amount of time researching the facts, my understanding has completely shifted: The Coronavirus has a very high probability to be a very serious health crisis — and it is just getting started.
I am no doctor, expert or anything (Who am I?). So nothing of the below is medical or any form of advice or has any claim to be complete or accurate. It is my best effort in providing timely and highly relevant information to you. I don’t want to create any panic. The aim of this email is to share the best information I have obtained after doing research rather than listening to the press and political noise. Please do your own research! I urge you to take the time to do so now before the crisis really hits us. Now, we can still contain the virus and you can still avoid catching it. With every passing day that you don’t take preventative measures, this will become significantly less likely. This is especially important for those that are older!
In recent days, the WHO has now classified this as a pandemic, the US has halted all flights from Europe to the US and the British PM has called it the “worst health crisis of a generation.” These are unlikely exaggerations. Stock markets have lost nearly 30% of their values from their peak a month ago. How it actually will play out very much depends on how quickly and extensively large scale actions are taken to ensure social distancing like in Italy and China as well as our very individual preparation by avoiding all social contact, not just large events.
While cleaning your hands is always a good idea, it does not do much to prevent you from receiving or spreading the virus. This is an airborne disease and based on current understanding is transmitted over the air over up to 2 meters/yards. And yes, it also survives on surfaces apparently many days but most infections will happen simply by being close to a person who is already infected.
The incubation period of the virus is up to four days before it shows any symptoms that means the person giving it to you very likely shows no symptoms of any form. This also means that the number of people infected is likely up to two magnitudes higher (up to 100x!) than what official numbers show because people only get tested when they show symptoms and not everyone gets tested immediately or at all. One expert estimates that the US could see 100MM people infected — a third of the population! (more on this below — source 2.).
The mortality rate aka deathliness of the virus is also much higher than even severe seasonal flu. It’s 20–40 times as deadly depending on the age group: For 80+ year-olds it has an average mortality rate of 15% — that’s 1 in 6 people! (source 4. below) If you are a smoker, are obese or your immune system is weakened your mortality risk is significantly higher. Overall fatality rate will likely be between 3–5% depending on our response — that’s possibly 1 in 20 people being infected and it’s likely that a large portion of us will get infected because there are no vaccines like with flu and because of the long incubation period, i.e. where we infect others before we show symptoms (read source 3. below for more on the numbers).
Surgical masks don’t protect you. The only masks that do protect are N95 masks that completely enclose your nose and mouth and only let in air through a filter. There will be not enough masks even for health workers so rather than getting a mask, stay at home and thereby contain the spread of the virus.
These are just some of the key facts. For more information, please see the sources and information below! Make no mistake, this crisis has a very high probability of being unprecedented. Those of you who know me know that I am no alarmist and as I said two days ago I was brushing this off as “nothing.” The facts told me a different story and I encourage you to take a look at the links and commentary below to form your own opinion.
As with every challenge and crisis in life, it also brings opportunity. Staying at home might provide you with some much needed time to self reflect where you are in life and where you want to go. We are most often in doing mode and rarely check-in whether we are on the path we want to be. It might also provide you with time to read up on some stuff. I really like Letting Go by David Hawkins on finding peace and happiness and The Relationship Handbook by George Pransky on transforming your relationship. Looking for other recommendations, message me.
It will also be an opportune time to buy into the stock market. Similar to the financial crisis, if you buy somehow close to the bottom your finances might look very differently later this year (see source 9.).
If you want to use this home time to explore any topic life, business, relationships, health, your fears, goals or otherwise, send me an email or book a 30 mins conversation for us to explore here. You can learn more about me here: vincentdaranyi.com. It’s an invitation to reconnect and explore where you are or simply to have a catch-up with me. It’s my gift to you if it could serve you. I’m looking forward to speaking with you.
I hope this all turns out much better than this email indicates but based on current expert information this is unlikely. And given that this might have material repercussions for loved ones, friends and colleagues, I like to believe it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Now check out the resources below to form your own opinion. And stay safe!
Detailed Preparation Worksheet: Livelihood, home preparation, lifestyle changes, personal & community health — practical tips on how to navigate the crisis
- Email from a biotech investor about precaution and medication (below)
- Infectious disease expert insights (Joe Rogan show — my notes) (below)
- Coronavirus — Why You Must Act Now — one of the best articles out there about how serious it is and that a tsunami is about to hit us and why current numbers are not reflecting the real situation (22 mins)
- Coronavirus: Myth vs. Reality (slide deck) — see slide 6 for age-related mortality risk
- Resource on the best articles and links on Covid-19 Please visit this collection of documents for more highly relevant information (courtesy of Ryan Allis)
- Italian MD reporting from the frontline: (11 mins video)
- This crisis also offers opportunity: Coronavirus offers “a blank page for a new beginning”
- There are two online conferences that were launched as a response to the crisis:
> March 16–18: COVID-19: The State & Future of Pandemics hosted by Singularity University (free)
> April 14–16: ExO World Digital Conference ($297) — Turning crisis into opportunity: We can either huddle at home in fear or we can have a global conversation about transforming the world for a better future. We have gathered the leading thinkers of our time and will discuss the current global situation and how we transform it. Book your ticket through this link to support me.
- On the stock market: CNBC — Chamath Palihapitiya on stock selloff: I suspect we are nowhere near the lows
- Anecdotal reporting of the situation in NYC (via Tim Ferriss)
1. Email from a biotech investor:
while my last email said in short “be cautious, but don’t panic, the world will not end” this was very much a macro view. But it’s also clear that on an individual basis, the COVID-19 crisis will cost lives and bring pain and suffering. And of course, I want my friends to avoid that as good as possible.
Hence, here are some health tips. In no way please see this as medical advice, I am not a doctor, but rather as ideas to discuss with your doctor. But (unfortunately) my experience over 20 years in biotech is that it takes a very long time till novel treatments reach the “ordinary” doctor, hence the treatments most people receive (which is true for any severe illness) will be for many reasons below gold standard.
Some scary number first, to wake you up: Death rate Italy/Lombardy is exceeding 5% and rising (while China was approx. 2%, especially outside Wuhan). Reason is (my explanation) a combination of many things
- China might have window-dressed a bit
- But Italy has
- Many old people
- Many smokers
- Bad healthcare system
- Done less/too late measure to contain
- especially little use of experimental drugs, while China has used everything possible without hesitation, see below
- and maybe virus mutates
- As simple as it sounds, social distancing is best. Do NOT interact with people over the next weeks if possible. Stay at home, self-quarantine. If you are meeting people, don’t shake hands. Keep distance. Act is if everybody around you has the flu.
- If you have children, and at the same time parents in the same household, make sure the elderly are isolated, as they are most vulnerable. Don’t let your parents meet their grandchildren! Ideally complicate isolate and self-quarantine the elderly!
- You know I am a fan of metformin, but metformin could slightly lower your immune system. Stop it for the time being
Boost up your immune system
- As said before, most important: SLEEP
- Vitamin C (please do overload, no risk of taking too much)
- Fungi Perfecti, Stamets 7, Daily Immune Support
If you get Covid-19, and it’s still mild, start immediately fighting back with
- Super high dose of Vitamin C
- Inhalable glutathione
- You need a professional inhaler and then glutathione pills, which are usually for oral use, but don’t really work orally, but you can dissolve them and then inhale
- a bronchodilator (like albuterol) — needs prescription
- Those 2 medications also help if you have problems breathing and can’t get a hospital place right away. As shown by many studies, the shortage if hospital/ICU beds could be a massive driver for death rate
- Have a portable oxygen concentrator at home
Stock those 2 medications that are reported to work and are already approved (hence safe/side effects known). Need PRESCRIPTION
- Chloroquine — originally a Malaria medication, check the brand name in your country, it is out of patent and hence available under various brands
- Kaletra — original an HIV medication, check the brand name in your country, it is out of patent and hence available under various brands
Bacterial infection can complicate this viral infection — Need PRESCRIPTION
- Patients may require antibiotics in cases of bacterial pneumonia as well as COVID-19. Stock the most common antibiotics, I wouldn’t exclude a shortage
- Stock any medication you need regularly! There might be shortages
2. Infectious disease expert insights
My highlights (of the first 45 mins) from a Joe Rogan interview with Michael Osterholm, an internationally recognized expert in infectious disease epidemiology. He’s the director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) and author of “Deadliest Enemy: Our War Against Deadly Germs” for more info. Here’s the link to the full show.
- it’s just beginning and will unfold for months. Think about Italy. Three weeks ago it was fine and it’s completely shut down.
- you are infectious before you even get sick. Even highly infectious just need to breathe in
- based on current data, this will be 10–15x worse than the worst seasonal flu in terms of fatalities with possible 100MM cases in the US and up to 480,000 deaths.
- the primary risk factor is being old and having certain conditions (like obesity and smoking)incubation period/R0 is 4 days
- masks are largely unhelpful
- the primary of transmitting it on is breathing. Studies in Germany showed that when you get infected you have already incredibly high levels of the virus before showing any symptoms -> avoid public spaces
- no vaccine anytime soon
- children get infected with the virus but they don’t get sick
- if we close schools, 38% of nurses in the US have kids, who is going to take care of their kids?
- limiting contact as much as you can is the best thing we can do
- we are not prepared at all. Even though we could be
- US has critical drug shortages
- sauna visit killing the virus is bullshit
- unlikely it’s a biological weapon. Nature is much better at creating viruses.
- could be 10x worse than a real bad seasonal flu year
- it will hit primarily older populations and those with underlying health problems (e.g. obesity, high blood pressure)
- it will stay around for months
- about 0.1% of people who get seasonal flu die mostly older and younger people. In China, Corona mortality is 2–3% but we in the West have more higher risk people than China. Spanish Flu in 1918 was 3–3.2% mortality rate (in that case 18–25 years old were hardest hit)
- this could be as high as 2% — meaning 480,000 deaths in the US
what can you do to protect yourself?
- be as healthy as you can be. Keep in shape
- if you are on medications, don’t miss them, e.g. high blood pressure medication
- get enough sleep, eat a healthy diet
- reduce your intake of alcohol, drink a lot of water
- take vitamins
what doesn’t work
- there’s no data that supports that vitamin drips might substantially boost your immune system
- probiotics dito, there’s no data that supports it removes the bad bugs
- hand sanitizers are unlikely to really protect because the data is low that not touching your face protects because it’s transmitted through the air
- same with hand washing. People want to do something so we tell them to do something but it’s not really what the data shows: we are getting this through breathing air and that’s a hard thing to stop. Keep doing the handwashing but that won’t stop the transmission
- surgical masks (doesn’t protect because it’s about the surgeon not dripping into the patient’s wounds not to protect the surgeon/wearer) — doesn’t protect. If you are sick they might protect others a little bit from you transmitting it
- N95 masks: the tight-fitting one, they are very effective. But there’s a big shortage in the US because we don’t stockpile.
- the risk overall is not low. We can’t tell people it’s all safe
These are my highlights from the first 45 mins. I wanted to get this email out to you asap. Please watch the full interview for completeness.